ISLAMABAD - Much annoyed with the performance of his counsels in the last few hearings, former President Pervez Musharraf is planning to change key members of the legal team.
“Musharraf now wants to hire the lawyers who are well-versed with criminal and constitutional aspects of the high treason case,” sources told The Nation. According to them Ilyas Siddiqui, an advocate of the Supreme Court, met with the former general at Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) three days ago. The meeting started at 6pm on Tuesday and lasted more than three hours.
Last week there were news in the press that Musharraf had contacted Wasim Sajjad, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, and former attorney general Malik Abdul Qayyum.
Ilyas Siddiqui is a prominent criminal lawyer, having 30-year practice in the Supreme Court and high courts. He is already representing Pervez Musharraf in Benazir Bhutto murder case in Anti-Terrorism Court, Rawalpindi, Lal Masjid case in the Islamabad Sessions Court, judges’ detention case in ATC, Islamabad, and Akbar Bugti murder case in the sessions court and the Balochistan High Court. And the ex-general is quite satisfied with his performance, the sources said.
They revealed Musharraf was considering assigning the main role to Ilyas Siddiqui in the high treason case. Ilyas Siddiqui confirmed to this correspondent on phone that he had met Pervez Musharraf at AFIC, but was reluctant to divulge the details of the meeting. He only said, “Former chief of the army staff discussed with him issues concerning his cases pending in various courts, particularly the Special Court.”
The sources said since the issuance of non-bailable arrest warrants and his possible indictment on March 31, the ex-military ruler was very disturbed and disappointed. They further said Musharraf had so far paid his lawyers more than Rs 20 million as fees, but was dissatisfied with their performance.
“The legal team, except gaining time on the pretext of security threats and health grounds, failed to get any substantive relief for the former army chief. They only criticised the Special Court judges and uttered nasty words against them and prosecutor Akram Sheikh in the media,” the sources added.
Since the beginning of the high treason proceedings on December 24, 2013, the Musharraf team filed about 12 applications of different natures, including shifting of the former army chief case to a military court. And almost all of them were dismissed.